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  • Writer's picturePeter Yawitz

How do I put together a good work team?

Dear Someone Else’s Dad,

I was asked to put together a team to work on a new high-profile client project. Some of my close work buddies have told me that they’d love to work with me on the project, so I’m tempted to ask them to join me so I don’t offend anyone; besides, they’re all nice people and I think we’ll get along well and will have a great time. Am I just taking the easy way out? Thanks, Team Player

Dear Team Player,

It’s great to hang out with your buds all day, talk about your shared interests, appreciate your same senses of humor, and be comforted by having the same views on politics, social issues, and artisanal IPAs. That’s what friends and weekends are for.  Enjoy your beer.

When putting a work team or committee together, the only things potential members should share are 1) a common goal, 2) commitment to getting the work done, and 3) a code of how people will communicate. 

When deciding who should be on the team, think about:

  1. What functional and behavioral skills are needed. You may want a person who has a strong background in coding, and want another person who is great at coordinating to making sure people stay on track. 

  2. Who has connections to critical stakeholders. If one of your goals is to persuade an often intransigent group to fund a project, agree with your assessment, or join forces with you, you may want to choose a person who has strong relations with that group.

  3. Which people have a different way of thinking. Identify people who will add a variety of perspectives to solving problems. Look for those who look, speak, and act differently from you. This is what corporate DNI initiatives are all about: diversity of experience and thought can add lots of value to a team, so here’s your chance to make it happen.

If your friends feel insulted that they’re not included you can tell them that you needed a diverse team, or blame someone else's dad's advice. Then invite them for a IPA tasting party where you can laugh and laugh.

Good luck,


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